Fishermen’s Co-operative beefs up number of bailiffs working on Lough Neagh

Fishermen working on the lough before the fishing ban
Fishermen working on the lough before the fishing ban

Lough Neagh Fishermen’s Co-operative has confirmed that the society applied to the courts for seven new bailiff’s licences for Lough Neagh.

This now brings the total number of bailiffs working on the lough to around 15.

The co-operative, which owns the lough’s scale and eel fishing rights announced a three-month ban on fishing that will not end until May 31 this year.

And so far, chairman Pat Close said it has gone well.

“There haven’t been any reports of any breaches,” he told the Mail. “The fishermen seem to be complying with the suspension.”

Asked how the unprecedented move went down with fishermen, he said: “The vast majority are in agreement.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure - which oversees fishing licences - said while it is “responsible for enforcing fisheries legislation on Lough Neagh”, it is a matter for the co-op, “as fishery owner, to manage the commercial taking of fish from the Lough”, adding: “DCAL enforcement officers patrol Lough Neagh on an ongoing basis.”